Every doctoral fellow in the Department of Political Science at the University of Aarhus in Denmark is required and subsidized to spend at least one semester doing research abroad and creating an international network. Mathilde Cecchini came to KU as a result of her advisor’s international network, her connections to Professor Steven Maynard Moody.
Her research focuses on health promotion in the Danish public school system. Health promotion has become a high priority for the Danish government, and a substantial part of health promotion initiatives are aimed at children in public schools. She is investigating how the implementation of these health promoting initiatives influences the formation of students' self-understanding and identity regarding their health practices, and how teachers and peers may influence this process of identity formation in both positive and negative ways.
Maynard Moody has read her research proposal and he will comment and make suggestions - mainly focusing on the theoretical and methodological framework. In addition, he has introduced Cecchini to the faculty and doctoral students at the School of Public Affairs and Administration, and she is participating in their “Lunch and Learn” meetings. She also is auditing a doctoral level seminar taught by Distinguished Professor Rosemary O'Leary.
Cecchini is also expanding her international network through the Institute for Policy & Social Research Doctoral Research Fellows Program, where a select group of doctoral students meet regularly to discuss their research and share experience and knowledge. She finds these meetings interesting - from an academic perspective, but also from a cultural perspective. “It is interesting to hear about the PhD program here at KU and discuss how it differs from Denmark, and how the academic job market is here in the U.S.,” she said.